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November 14, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionNovember 14, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

November 14, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 46

Training Tips

Stormy scenario

What you see isn't always what you get with aviation weather. That's why you learned that a careful examination of weather reports, charts, and forecasts from various sources must precede any decision to fly.

Of course there are times when a glance outside at low ceilings and fog gives you the basic picture, and the latest METAR confirms it: "071619Z 35013G20KT 2SM BR OVC010 03/02 A2934 RMK AO2 SFC VIS 4 CIG 006V012."

The good news is that gradual improvement is forecast, signaling only a brief delay of your flight schedule: "FM071900 33015G25KT P6SM OVC022 FM080300 33010KT P6SM SCT035."

Then there are those times when the storms line up like airliners landing at a busy airport, or when a deep low pressure system stalls overhead for days at a time. Even then, you can still take advantage of down-time opportunities to further your learning.

Rather than call a timeout from your aviation education, keep getting weather briefings as if it were possible to fly during the delay. Not only will you see symbols, abbreviations, and remarks—such as some given in the excerpt above—that rarely appear during fair weather, but practice will make you a pro at correlating weather elements with the meteorological big picture. For example, as the low that was soaking northern New England was exiting, you could predict based on regular observation of regional frontal behavior that winds would swing to the northwest as the overcast cleared (see the latter portion of the TAF given above).

Tracking weather is a fun way to stay connected to your aviation project during down time, giving you a head start on your next round of trip planning (which should begin well in advance of your scheduled flight date.)

From the point of view of preparation for your checkride, developing the habit of tracking the weather as a matter of routine will help you nail the practical test standard of exhibiting "satisfactory knowledge of the elements related to weather information by analyzing weather reports, charts, and forecasts from various sources." And it will sharpen your ability to interpret all that weather information to assess risk—a skill the examiner is also required to probe.

How will that skill be probed? By developing a scenario that calls on you to use your know-how to make aeronautical decisions that ensure the flight's successful outcome "is never in doubt."

Flight Training News


St. Simons welcomes thousands

AOPA's final fly-in of the year was a resounding success with thousands of pilots, hundreds of airplanes, and dozens of activities. Read more...  



Mooney unveils diesel trainer

Mooney is taking aim at the international market with its new M10T and M10J diesel-powered singles announced Nov. 11. The composite, fixed-gear M10T is powered by a Continental CD-135 diesel engine and marks Mooney's first foray into the flight training arena. The retractable M10J plays off the popular Mooney M20J, and is powered by the Continental CD-155 diesel engine. Read more...  


Flight Training magazine

Practical weather

You've dreamed of the epic aviation adventure—an aerial "road trip" across the country, taking friends and family on vacation, or flying to an aviation event. On any long trip, weather will be a factor. Don't let the threat of poor weather intimidate you. Here are five practical tips from the November issue of Flight Training to keep in mind about planning for and around the weather Mother Nature might throw at you. Read more...  


'FAA Safety Briefing' tackles winter ops

The November-December issue of FAA Safety Briefing tackles topics related to winter operations, from flying with skis to making the go/no-go decision. The issue offers tips for combating cold stress when you're exposed to the cold and advice on preparing your aircraft for dropping temperatures, among other articles. Read more...  


Online course

Learn from CFI renewal program

Regardless of your certificate level, you can take the Air Safety Institute's online flight instructor refresher course (eFIRC) anytime, any day. It is the most comprehensive FAA-approved CFI renewal program available, with a two-year training window for CFIs—from the enrollment date until certificate expiration—and credit is given for already completed Air Safety Institute courses. Not a CFI? No problem: Enjoy learning what they need to know to instruct and give flight reviews. The Air Safety Institute also conducts in-person FIRCs. Read more...  

Training Resources

Flash-based, login required

Flying abroad for the holidays?

If your holiday plans involve flying your aircraft internationally into or out of the United States, don't forget to submit passenger and crew manifests electronically at least 60 minutes before departure using the electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Rusty on the process? Take the Air Safety Institute's eAPIS Customs Training course...

Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge.


AOPA Live This Week

Aviation innovation, traffic in the family

Mooney International announced two new diesel models this week, and AOPA Live® put the Glasair Sportsman Diesel through its paces for a flight report. Also this week, an inside look at the North Carolina factory where Honda Aero Inc. is making innovative engines, and go behind the scenes with the husband-wife team that landed and launched more than 500 aircraft during the last AOPA Fly-In of the year. AOPA Live This Week®, Nov. 13...  

Career Pilot


Business aviation: Never boring

If variety is the spice of life, business aviation may add flavor to an aviation career. Michael McManus wears many hats and flies to airports large and small as a check pilot and captain for a fractional operator. Read more...  


Airline seats top Spirit's 'State of Hate Report'

Airline seats were among the top subjects of complaints when Spirit Airlines asked people why they hate to fly commercial, according to the airline's "State of Hate Report." The airline offered free Spirit miles to people who shared their frustrations with air travel in its "Hug the Haters" campaign, and reported Nov. 3 that 20 percent of respondents expressed frustration with the size, shape, leg room, or reclining of seats, or getting to them. Sixteen percent shared frustrations with lost bags and baggage, and 15 percent complained about delays and customer service.

For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.

Plane Spotter

Long-range regent

A skilled plane spotter can identify an aircraft's family lines at a glance, but it takes a spotting specialist (and sometimes, good binoculars) to nail down the exact make and model of a newly arrived aircraft. A low-winged bizjet with rear-fuselage-mounted engines is suggestive of Cessna's Citation line, and its "cruciform" tail eliminates its T-tailed possibilities. Noting the tail's zero-dihedral angle, the aircraft's 72-foot wingspan, and seven cabin windows aft of the door identifies the stranger as a Cessna Sovereign+, the 460-knot, 3,188-nautical-mile-aircraft designated Cessna's model 680.

Training Products

Tailwheel, ski plane book offers tips for year-round flying

Notes on the Tailwheel Checkout and an Introduction to Ski Flying outlines the basics of both checkouts for pilots who plan to swap a tailwheel configuration in the summer for skis in the winter. Author Burke Mees also covers advanced topics, including flying multiengine tailwheel airplanes and ski-flying on glaciers, and answers questions students may have. It is available from ASA in softcover for $19.95, $14.95 for PDF or ePub e-book formats, or $14.99 for iBooks format.

Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.

Member Benefits

Members only

Six medical tips for the student pilot

Many student pilots are woefully unprepared for their first flight physical, notes one aviation medical examiner. Here's what they can do to be ready for that first visit to the AME. Read more...  


Member benefits

AOPA offers options for term life

AOPA offers three distinct options when it comes to securing term life insurance to provide for your family's needs if something happens to you. Explore your options...  


Caution: Think before you type

In today's connected world, people's online behavior can affect their careers. Do you post anything online that could embarrass you—or your employer? Read more...  

Instrument Tip


'My first ever runway incursion'

You have your clearance, have made the "go" decision, and are taxiing toward the active runway. Gusty winds and rain are making this a more demanding task than usual; if anything unexpected comes up such as a last-minute routing change or an anomalous indication on the panel, will you be able to sort everything out without error? Read more...  

Final Exam


What is hypoxia?


Hypoxia is a state in which the human body has a deficiency in oxygen. At altitude, this deficiency is caused by reduced barometric pressure. Hypoxia may impair the functions of the brain and other organs. (Source: Aeronautical Information Manual, 8-1-2.)

Got a question for our technical services staff? Contact AOPA.

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Aviation design engineer, Robertson Fuel Systems

Robertson Fuel Systems in Tempe, Arizona, is currently seeking an experienced aviation design engineer to design, draft, and develop aircraft fuel system components. The successful candidate also will be responsible for writing clear and concise test plans, reports, and trip reports. Read the full job description now.


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a senior advertising sales account executive, senior financial analyst, digital marketing manager, major gift officer, senior ambassador, ambassador for Southern California, .Net applications developer, social media evangelist, legal services plan program manager, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Nov 15-16 - Anchorage, Alaska; and Austin, Texas

Dec 6-7 - Orlando, Florida; Northbrook, Illinois; and Denver, Colorado

Jan 3-4 - Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Ypsilanti, Michigan

Jan 10-11 - San Antonio, Texas; Long Beach, California; Knoxville, Tennesee; and Bellevue, Washington

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Nov 17 - Marietta, Georgia; and Tampa, Florida

Nov 18 -Birmingham, Alabama; and Fort Myers, Florida

Nov 19 - Pensacola, Florida; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Nov 15 - Farmingdale, New York; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Waukegan, Illinois

Jan 10 - Farmingdale, New York

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Aviation Calendar

Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See AOPA's enhanced calendar of events. Now you can filter events by date range, airport ID, state, or region. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.

To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA Airports.

AOPA ePilot

ePilot Flight Training Editors:

Sarah Deener
Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore

Production Assistant:

Melissa Whitehouse


Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

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